Business class on Ethopian Airline Douglas DC-3, scheduled to leave for Luanda at 9:40 that night, was scanty. 22-year-old Nancy Uzoma sat at seat 13B; she had her tray table stashed under the seat in front of her, chair sat upright and carry-on bag gently stowed in the compartment overhead. She had the window seat, where she could savour each passing object obscured in nocturnal embrace when the plane finally took off. For company, she had a fine array of chairs, some magazines, a guidebook, and a grey-haired couple–who were whispering comfortably to each other–occupying a pair of the fine fur-coated set. A tour guide, she travelled often, averaging close to a hundred explorative tours each year that required her to cruise around and beyond West Africa, and less frequently, the 10/40 window; the Kathmandu Dubar Square of Nepal; the Chinguetti Mosque of Mauritania; the Bahia Palace of Morocco; and the Silver Pagoda of Cambodia, a country still recovering from Khmer Rouge’s terror reign.

But the trip this time was different, and it seemed the more she tried not to think about it, the more attached she became to the odds of what she was getting into. A decision she made; a decision she was wistfully beginning to get unsure of; a decision bound to break someone’s heart, just as it was breaking hers.

Seun, right from high school, had always been both the classmate only whose grades rivalled hers and the one to whom she readily ran when she felt insecure or a bit over the fringe. High school passed, but nothing of their familiarity did. By orchestration, the University of Benin came to be where they’d both study and graduate; she, Agriculture, he, Literature. There were days when, under the thick shade of the cackling tree, among the whisper of soft breeze, his voice would penetrate the silence of dusk and the noise within her, reeking of favourable poetry, and speaking of love with suggestive reserve. And there were other days when she’d just pause to stare at him, watching him smile from afar when she thought she wouldn’t get caught, wishing he’d proceed and propose, and place her in his arms under the watch of a starry night. Forever. And ever.

She waited with all she had, but the proposal hadn’t come until they’d graduated.

The captain’s voice crackled over the speaker, announcing that they were next in flight. Nancy noticed he had a sexy, alluring voice, much like Seun, and she smiled at the memory of how much she’d wanted to tease him by saying no when he’d proposed in that alluring voice a little over a year ago.

The smile disappeared into a thin line five seconds later when, at her reflection in the window, she saw a hint of her father in her pointed nose, bony cheeks, and large eyes. She tore her gaze from the window and stared at the guidebook sitting on her laps instead.

Yet, all she saw was the face of her father, the demon of her hope.

Nancy always doubted if her father ever knew to love— especially after her mother had to endure been at the receiving end of his fists in the latter years of their marriage—and he’d confirmed her doubts in the past week.

The call had came when she was just exiting the grocery store. The caller, one Mr. Ifeanyi Martins, had explained that ‘one tall, black, heavily built man’ had been found on the open road with a bullet lodged in his left shoulder. The comprehension was instant. The ‘tall, black, heavily built man’ description alone had had her heart thumping against her ribcage, and with the thought of her losing Seun came an even deadlier thought.

Her father’s warning.

While their admission into the same higher institution was nothing of a coincidence, Seun’s deployment into Anambra–the same state as her–for youth service was purely fate at work. She remembered the first time Seun had visited, at her family get-together, even though he’d balked at her invitation. Her father had scowled at his first words, picking out his Yoruba accent as his reason for disapproval later that night when Seun had left. Emphasizing that the Yorubas weren’t the ingrained traitors he always called them each time she pled that he looked beyond the tribal umbrella, she never could have guessed that her father’s preventative disapproval would have escalated to this:

Seun shot in the shoulders for the second time in six months–the first one the right, the second on the left–and left to die on the open road. When her father had said he’d ‘put the traitor through hell’ if she didn’t cancel their relationship, she’d only thought it angry thinking on his part. Something that’d eventually pass.

Unfortunately, it didn’t, and so here she was, about to head to the heart of Angola, striking her revenge in the subtle way she could think up by making her father miss her, scour the country for her, and when he wouldn’t find her, cry his heart out, and preferably, hang himself.

There was a rumble from the base of the craft and felt the plane begin to move along the accessway. With a short jerk of her head, she turned to stare into the blanket of darkness below, hoping to see a tall, black, heavily built man waving at her to return, to not break his heart, their pact. A tear warmed her cheeks at the vanity of her wish.

She hadn’t waited for Seun to recover from the bullet wound before leaving a letter by his bedside, after she was certain he’d survive, and another letter at the office desk of her Managing Director.

In the letter, she’d told him where he could find her, and she had also suggested, quite insincerely, that he’d be more safe if he forgot her.

In no time, the airplane was up in the sky, raindrops drumming on its sides, the city she grew up in a far spectacle, filling her heart with an overwhelming sadness and her head with a throbbing ache.

Slowly, the guidebook slipped from her grasp, and she began to give in to jet-lag.

She only hoped that by dawn, she would be clear enough in the head to consider returning. Or running farther and saving Seun’s life.

Even if it breaks her heart.

9 thoughts on “Heartbreak” by Iwundu Wisdom (@Litera-wise)

  1. namdi (@namdi)

    The things we do for love, hmm!

    A lovely tale, well written too.

    1. Thanks so much @namdi. I appreciate.

  2. Onome prince Tadafe (@thaprince)

    Hmmmm……. A good plot but alot of details did not add up. And the lack of puntuations made reading it abit incomprehensive. And your use of tenses and figurative expressions was a bit of.

    1) “she had her tray table
    stashed under the seat in front of her, chair sat
    upright and carry-on bag gently stowed in the”

    They should have been a full stop or a semi-colon after the word “her”. And the use of the article “the” should have been used.

    It would have read better this way;

    “she had her tray table
    stashed under the seat in front of her; the chair was upright and the carry-on bag was gently stowed in the……….”

    2) Below you would notice that this sentence or phrases were poorly puntuated. I did not see the need for the use of the hyphen.

    “And a grey-haired couple–who
    were whispering comfortably to each other–
    occupying a pair of the fine fur-coated set. A
    tour guide, she travelled often, averaging close
    to a hundred explorative tours each year that
    required her to cruise around and beyond West
    Africa, and less frequently, the 10/40 window;
    the Kathmandu Dubar Square of Nepal; the
    Chinguetti Mosque of Mauritania; the Bahia
    Palace of Morocco; and the Silver Pagoda of
    Cambodia, a country still recovering from
    Khmer Rouge’s terror reign.

    There were places tht you needed to put a full stop, comma or a semi colon or colon. You cant coat a seat with fur but you can make a seat with fur. Its like saying you coated a shoe with leather. Coating happens with paint.

    For company, she had a
    fine array of chairs, some magazines, a
    guidebook, a grey haired couple, occupying a fine seat that was made of fur and both
    were whispering comfortably to each other.

    As a tour guide, she travelled often, averaging a hundred explorative tours each year, most especially around and beyond West

    Something of this nature would have reading this story comfy.

    The other details that had to do with some places you mentioned was abit confusing. that I dnt know if you were talking about places that she visited or places that is going to visit. I was lost there thats why I did not edit that part cos I did not want to assume that you were saying this or that.

    A typo; “Seat”, instead of “set”.

    3) “There were days when, under the thick shade of the cackling tree”.

    Trees do not cackle. Its only poultry or birds that do.

    “The rustling of the tree leaves” would have been ok. Trees do not make sounds it is the leaves that do. They rustle.

    “The captain’s voice crackled over the speaker”

    “Cackling” would or should be the correct word.

    Lemme stop with the errors cos they are quite a number of them.

    Finally you said she was an explorer but from the story she was only running from her father so that he could miss her and start looking for her.

    And if she averages 100 tours every year then how long has she been running awy and wheee does she get the money from and what about work?

    Details have to be ironed out when writing stories cos some pple are very analytical like me.

    Lemme drop my critic gavel.

    Keep on writing.

    1. Grool! @thaprince, I’m really grateful that you took the time. Gracias, amigo.

      But you got a lot of things wrong. A lot. At the risk of being branded as narcissistic, I want to emphasize that I’m not new to these things, and even though this hadn’t undergone serious overhauling, I’ve to settle with the assurance that this was properly written, and even if there remains some loopholes (which is most certainly present), it do not fall into your criticaster-esque analysis.

      Except, of course, for the fur-coated set (not seat).

      But you took the time, and I really appreciate, man. :)

  3. Aderonke Daramola (@Shovey)

    well written! Love is a beautiful thing and heartbreak is the opposite.

  4. Onome prince Tadafe (@thaprince)

    @litera-wise: From your user name it means you are a bloke who is knowledeable as regards literature.

    But bro if you say it was perdectly written then I think that by now you should have published your first book.

    Bro you said Trees make “cackling sound”. Did you bother to ask if trees make sound?

    2) The crackling sound of the man at the airport. Is there anything like a crackling sound from a human being?

    3) Your lack of proper puntuation make reading it hellish and here you say it is perfect and you see nothing wrong. Bro get off your high horse and re-trace the errors or look at the piece again and try to analyse it again.

    Something else, I just realized that your thanks was a sarcastic one.

    Keep on wrting Lambiaso

  5. Onome prince Tadafe (@thaprince)

    Bra if you say that I got alot of things wrong then you have to look at your piece again and tgen you’ll comprehend the true meaning of ‘wrong’.

    How can something be properly written and yet there are loop holes?

    Whether you are new to it or not, taking correction from a fellow writer aint a bad thing.

    From my observation u like sugar coated comments cos you refered to me as fake petty critic( ” criticaster-esque”) .

    I won’t take it as an offence. The fact is if a comment doesn’t praise your ego you dont have to be rude about it. I was polite with mine.

    At the end of it all, I am glad that my comment deflated your ego.

  6. Lol @thaprince I wouldn’t call you a fake critic, and I wouldn’t say you are not. People criticize for different reasons, some to get attention that they look for unnecessary details and write a whole epistle on them when they could just sum it up in few words. While others, including the brusque, are intent on developing the writer to become a better one and not just to showcase their flair in picking errors.

    And personally, I don’t see any reason why YOU should be GLAD that your CRITICISMS DEFLATED another writer’s ego(as you said). Now that’s certainly not a good motive.
    About ‘trees cackling’, sometimes, complicated imagery and absurd creativity just brings out the beauty in a piece. If you think a ‘tree cackling’ is wrong, then you probably haven’t read the poem, ‘The Cackling Tree’ by Ridger. Personification bro, that’s the beauty of writing! The fact that ‘you feel’ something is wrong doesn’t mean it is always wrong, especially if it’s about imagery. If I say ‘That beautiful night when Sara visited, I heard the winds laugh…’ Would you tell me I’m wrong because the winds do not laugh?? Personification is a literary device, one that adds more beauty to imagery than any other literary device. Saying that the ‘ leaves rustled’ isn’t as beautiful as saying ‘we kissed under the cackling tree.’
    And man, VOICE CRACKLES! Especially that of a man. You might want to check up your dictionary all over again or just type ‘crackling voice’ on google, there is even a page on Wikihow on ‘How to stop your voice from crackling!’ I wouldn’t say a cracking voice is a good quality. While men with very deep voice have their voice crackle easily, voices of men also crackle when they murmur in low measured tones(especially in bed), it absolutely doesn’t mean that was what @litera-wise intended. While I do understand it could’ve been intended to represent something manly or sexy, it is certainly not the best word to use in that context.
    If I were @litera-wise , I would have accepted the criticisms and responded with a brief ‘thank you’ …That response doesn’t really sound too good…I would agree it isn’t the nicest comment I’ve seen here on NS….all the same, we should all strive to improve.

    So, Keep Writing.

  7. Onome prince Tadafe (@thaprince)

    (@praize): I get yiur drift bro. I comprehend the use of personification bro but the usage is important. We shouldnt say cos its writing then, we should use words or expressions without contexts. That said I wnt say anything bout that. If I coment on pples write up I do that wit all sincerity as regards making sure that criticisms are constructive. Pple comment on mine and I dnt take offence, instead I try to check my errors out and make amends.

    About my comment, His comments brought that comment out from me. You have read my comments and you can comfirm that I am not irresponsible or harsh wit my comments but why should he make such offensive statements. Calling me a “Criticaster blah blah blah”. And then expect me to keep my mouth shut.Nope; that aint happening; that aint happening.

Leave a Reply